Modern Poetry: Studies in Practical Criticism

By C. B. Cox; A. E. Dyson | Go to book overview

9
SNOW

by Louis MacNeice

THE room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes--
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one's
hands--
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

'The room was suddenly rich' . . . The 'suddenly' captures that sense of unheralded insight, a sharp tang of delight, which makes a moment permanently memorable. We have all had such moments, many of them reaching back to childhood. They remain in the mind like portraits in a long, dark gallery, waiting for the chance smell, or word, or sound which will light them again. They come back to us with nostalgia and poignancy; often with the suggestion of some close approach to greater realities, a 'near annunciation', to borrow Day Lewis's phrase. The world is irradiated with an unfamiliar brilliance. Memory, of course, alters as it recalls, but when such moments happen,

-85-

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Modern Poetry: Studies in Practical Criticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Acknowledgements 7
  • Introduction 9
  • 1 - After a Journey 33
  • 2 - The Listeners 41
  • 3 - The Sign-Post 48
  • 4 - Futility 52
  • 5 - Easter 1916 57
  • 6 - Bavarian Gentians 66
  • 7 - Marina 72
  • 8 - The Landscape Near an Aerodrome 80
  • 9 - Snow 85
  • 10 - Spain 1937 90
  • 11 - O Dreams, O Destinations 98
  • 12 - Poem for Elsa 109
  • 13 - Vanity 116
  • 14 - Fern Hill 122
  • 15 - The Horses 128
  • 16 - A Blackbird Singing 133
  • 17 - At Grass 137
  • 18 - The Casualty 142
  • 19 - Considering the Snail 147
  • 20 - On the Death Of a Murderer 153
  • Short Biographies 161
  • Suggestions For Further Reading 165
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